World Bulletin / News Desk
Last week, Zuma replaced several high-profile ministers in a cabinet reshuffle which led to tumbling of the country’s currency and stock markets, causing losses in millions of dollars.
“Today we stand up and say enough is enough,’’ Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance told a huge crowd in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.
He urged South Africans to unite regardless of their political affiliations and push for Zuma’s removal.
“We want a president who will put South Africa first and not his friends and family,” he said amid cheers from the crowd.
Maimane said Zuma had threatened the country’s economy by removing the widely-respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who had stabilized the country’s economy after Zuma fired two finance ministers in December 2015.
Protesters were carrying South Africa’s flag and placards calling for Zuma to resign. Some of the cards read, “I’m ashamed of my president. Deliver us from evil and Zuma must go.”
Demonstrations are taking place in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Most shops have been closed in the country’s economic hub Johannesburg.
“We want our country to be governed by leaders who will understand that they are servants of the people and don’t make reckless decisions,” Mosiuoa Lekota, leader of the Congress of the People told protesters in the capital Pretoria.
Television images showed thousands of people marching from the Pretoria city center to the Union Building where Zuma’s office is located.
Protest organizer Mark Heywood told Anadolu Agency they will not present their list of demands to Zuma’s office, but will instead make speeches outside his office calling on him to resign.
President Zuma, who came to office in 2009, has faced several corruption scandals, but managed to survive numerous attempts to have him removed from office.
The ANC, which fought for the liberation of South Africa from white-minority rule, has been in power since the dawn of democracy in the country in 1994. The party is accused of shielding corrupt leaders and being divided along factions.
Anti-apartheid activist and Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu warned the ANC years back against behaving disgracefully and misrepresenting the people.
‘‘I’m warning you that we will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government. We will pray for a government that misrepresents us,’’ he warned.